Book – Oval

Author – Elvia Wilk

Year – 2022

Pages – 360 (I reached 129)

Genre – Fiction

So this is a new thing for me for this blog. I didn’t actually finish this book. I make no bones of the fact that I have struggled reading as much as I would like over the past few years. There are so many reasons for this, but try as I may, I cannot help but think that they are mainly excuses. If I wanted to spend more time reading then the only thing that I can do is to just read more. However, I also recognise that eliminating some of the roadblocks that stop me from reading would be useful, and so I have decided that I need to change my approach to books I am not enjoying. When I am not into a book, I will stop reading it, as opposed to what I am doing now which is just stopping reading. A part of my reluctance comes from this very blog – I want to be able to say that I have finished it to put it here and on my accompanying spreadsheet, so I continue to say I am reading something, that I am very clearly not, and don’t get anything read. Hopefully this will give me a little more space to abandon ship on a book, and not feel as guilty.

And Oval is a prime example of why I am doing this. It’s really good. Well written, intriguing premise, clear characters. And I still cannot get properly into it. I’ll try and explain why.

Anja and Louis live in Berlin in a place called the Berg – an artificial mountain, designed to be eco-friendly. Anja clearly has some issues around her relationship with not just Louis, but many others around her – overthinking and super analysing all that happens to her. After the death of his mother back in the USA, Louis returns seemly unfazed, but Anja is unsure as to why the subtle changes in his manner have happened.

This is interesting enough, but my issue comes in the fact that I have read the first third of the book, and that is all that has happened so far. I struggled to come up with even that much to say. The blurb promises a dystopian style look into drugs and revolution, but if they are to be found then it is in the latter two thirds of the novel. And in the meantime, despite the good writing, I was so bored. I know some people deal well with being bored in their novels, being happy with form over narrative, but I am not one of them.

So uncultured as it may be, I am giving up on Elvia Wilk’s Oval – sorry Elvia. If you have read it and can persuade me to return, then please do and I will amend the blog duly. Otherwise, it is another one for the charity shop pile.

4/10